The Royal Shakespeare Company has announced details of the 2017-18 season at its Stratford-upon-Avon home base, which will include artistic director Gregory Doran directing Imperium: The Cicero Plays, a new stage adaptation of Robert Harris' Cicero trilogy.
Comprising six plays that will be presented in two parts, it will begin performances November 16 (for part one, subtitled Conspirator) and November 23 (for part two, subtitled Dictator), prior to an official opening of both parts December 7 in the Swan Theatre. Together the plays trace the triumphs and disasters of Rome's greatest orator, as he he defends Rome’s Republic against the predatory attacks of political rivals, discontented aristocrats, and would-be military dictators. Told through the eyes of Cicero’s loyal secretary, Tiro, this is a backstage view of Rome at its most bloody and brutal. It is adapted by Mike Poulton, who previously adapted Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall for the RSC that transferred to Broadway. The production will be designed by Anthony Ward.
In the main house Royal Shakespeare Theatre, newly announced are new productions of Twelfth Night and a new adaptation of A Christmas Carol. Twelfth Night begins performances November 2, prior to an official opening November 9, and will be directed by Christopher Luscombe, who is currently represented in London by the transfer of his RSC productions of Much Ado About Nothing and Love's Labour’s Lost to the Theatre Royal Haymarket. A Christmas Carol begins performances November 27 prior to an official opening December 6, and will be newly adapted by David Edgar and directed by Rachel Kavanaugh.
In The Other Place studio, The Mischief Festival of new work, talks, events, and debates will run May 24–June 17. It will include a double-bill of new plays: The Earthworks (by Tom Morton-Smith, directed by Erica Whyman) and Myth (co-written by Matt Hartley and Kirsty Housley and directed by Housley).
In a press statement, artistic director Doran commented, “We so often return to old stories to make sense of the world around us. In a year which has seen more than its share of political intrigue and unease, we complete our exploration of Rome and see how Shakespeare, his contemporaries and today’s writers seek inspiration in myth and history.”
He added, “We are also looking forward to the future, developing new talent with RSC Next Generation. Theatre has been my passion since childhood and it’s there that our imaginations are first sparked. I am so pleased that we are opening up opportunities for a new generation of young talent to explore theatre careers in acting, directing and backstage, and that we are doing this important work in collaboration with our theatre partners and schools across the country. Shakespeare belongs to everyone and what better legacy from 2016 than to give new voices a chance to shine.”
To book tickets, which go on general sale March 13, contact the box office on 01789 403493 or visit rsc.org.uk.